50 years of sailcloth of the highest quality DIMENSION-POLYANT as the world market leader for Made in GermanyThe world market leader for sailcloth celebrates its anniversary: 50 years of DIMENSION-POLYANT. The innovative company from the work group DEUTSCHE YACHTEN, headquartered in Kempen near the German-Dutch border, has become a symbol of innovative fabric and laminates over the past 50 years. The expertise of the manufacturers from the Lower Rhine region has won people over worldwide - with their rigid materials, the regatta cracks have become a thorough success for their speed and cruising longevity.
The sailmaker’s logo is usually sewn onto the outside of the mainsail, foresail and spinnaker tacks. It signifies nothing less than a high-end product from the sail smiths at DIMENSION-POLYANT. Renowned sail manufacturers worldwide – whether large or small – swear by the sailcloth technology from our in-house research and development departments and production facilities for making traditional and cargo sails, dinghy sails, windsurfing sails and even kites. As the only supplier of sailcloth, both in Germany and in the USA, DIMENSION-POLYANT has its own state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities where weaving, finishing and laminating are all performed under a single roof.
The success story of DIMENSION-POLYANT is not a result of coincidence. Robert F. Kühnen, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, affirms that, “The world market share to-date of more than 45% is the result of the diligence of 150 employees and their innovative capabilities, together with the principle of always making our customers and their requirements our priority.” Additional distribution sites in Australia, England and France, as well as loyal distribution partners in all important parts of the world, guarantee reliable just-in-time delivery. With frequently daring – but always well-founded – investments, product development is continually driven forwards in order to secure our pole position. “We will have some surprises in store for our anniversary year”, promises Kühnen.
From a historical point of view, Germany’s west was always a leading location in the production of high-quality textile products. Krefeld and the surrounding towns such as Kempen benefited in particular from this at the end of the 19th century. During the course of worldwide industrialisation after the Second World War, trades and technology increasingly moved to other parts of the world where manufacturing had meanwhile become possible at much lower cost.
One exception to this market development was the Verseidag (Vereinigte Seidenwebereien AG (“united silk weaving”)). This company remained at its main production site in Krefeld, Germany. In contrast to its competitors, the cloth maker searched on home ground for new, different markets where it could apply its know-how in the art of weaving. For this reason it was decided to concentrate on the sectors of technical specialities where the competition did not rely on the price level, but on the quality level – as was the case with sailcloth. Artificial fibres were woven into extremely strong cloth for the first time in 1966. This cloth was precisely tailored to the requirements of modern sailing and it became an immediate success throughout Europe.
In the mid-eighties the company’s newly developed “Interply” process, in which the insertion of the yarns takes place during the laminating process, revolutionised the laminate market. The “Square®ˮ range was introduced to cater for the woven cloth market. High standards of quality and German reliability secured a worldwide market share of more than 25% in just 20 years. The development of the “X-PLY®” process introduced for the first time yarns which were inserted into the laminate at 6°, 13° or 22° angles. This still remains the highest standard in terms of efficiency and performance of rolled laminates.
The logical fusion with American producer DIMENSION drove overseas production and international sales consequently experienced considerable expansion. Market share increased to 37%, conferring global market leadership in sailcloth manufacture. At the beginning of the nineties the French branches in Marseille and La Rochelle and the English office in Southampton were opened. Only three years later DIMENSION-POLYANT Sydney was founded in order to fulfil the demand for high-quality sailcloth down under as well.
On the basis of the successful “Square®” cloth, the engineers at DIMENSION-POLYANT succeeded in weaving the completely different yarns Polyester and Dyneema together to form a homogenous sailcloth. This resulted in the qualities of the new “Hydra Net®” fabric, representing a further milestone in development, particularly in terms of the durability of the cloth that was later to find its perfect form in the woven product “Hydra Net® radial”. It is now impossible to envisage the yachts of circumnavigators without this high-tech sailcloth. Following development work on the “Pro Lite” products, it became possible during 2010 to transfer the “Hydra Net®” technology to light cloth for gennackers and code zeros. This cloth exhibits a degree tear-propagation resistance incomparable with any other worldwide.
At the turn of the millennium membrane technology brought a further innovation to sailcloth manufacturing. In 2004 DIMENSION-POLYANT integrated this process into its product lines with the adoption of the “D4®” technology from Bob Fraser. The company then established a second production site in Germany in order to supply the European market much faster and more reliably. In 2013 the “D4®” production was sold to the French sailmaker, Incidences. Henceforth DIMENSION-POLYANT concentrated its efforts on the production and sale of components for the membrane business.
Only one year later, the engineers registered the patent for the “Lite Skin™” process, once again setting new standards. Inspired by the membrane technology, “Lite Skin™” products do not have a conventionally woven textile surface that is also non-chaotic (as in fleece for example), but has a uniform structure. With its very low weight it offers excellent technical properties and high durability. “Precision and diligence with consistently high standards will determine the uncompromising approach to the quality of all our products in future too”, concludes Robert F. Kühnen.